Morbius might have been the most delayed movie due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Spider-Man: No Way Home kicking ass at the box office. Those delays fueled unreasonable expectations for the film; one that was supposed to release before No Way Home. There are some definite changes from previous trailers of Morbius that don’t make the final cut. Without spoiling anything, those changes don’t make Morbius a worse movie, they might make it better in the long run. It’s a movie free of the ties that normally bind superhero films, especially those tethered to Spider-Man.

As an origin story, Morbius works pretty well. You’re introduced to Michael Morbius (played by Jared Leto) right away. He has a debilitating condition that requires constant medical attention. That condition drives him. It’s the wound that he suffers to get him to the point of becoming a vampire. He’s flanked by his friend, Milo (played by Matt Smith). Milo and Michael have been friends since they went to the same medical facility as kids. Now, Milo is rich beyond your wildest dreams and funds Morbius’s quest to cure their conditions.

Joining him are Dr. Martine Bancroft (played by Adria Arjona), Dr. Nokols (played by Jared Harris), and two FBI agents, Simon Stroud (played by Tyrese Gibson) and Agent Rodriguez (hilariously played by Al Madrigal). That’s the main cast in Morbius. It’s not a huge film in regards to scope or globetrotting. Outside of the first couple of scenes, the entire movie takes place in New York City. That’s also for the best. The story is contained, and it would get too bogged down with any other location changes. Where Morbius shines the most is in its action though.

If You Want Vampires Fighting, You’ll Get What You Want

The idea of two vampires duking it out with one another is a pervasive idea in genre stories. You have The Lost Boys, Blade, and other famous vampire flicks where it’s just cool to see extremely powerful beings beat the tar out of one another. The fight scenes in Morbius range from pretty damn good to awesome. The effects in the film have been picked apart by Twitter and other social media, but they’re really not as bad as people say they are. They’re on par with most other big-budget superhero flicks out there. Sometimes there are a few frames that look particularly hokey, but that’s the territory with a character that transforms from vampire to human and back.

The final fight between Morbius and the other vampire is the highlight of the entire film. It’s two pumped-up, undead, blood-suckers doing Dragon Ball Z type maneuvers that ends with a pretty ingenious way to end the proceedings. Jared Leto looks fantastic as Morbius, the effects for his vampire scenes are terrifying at points. Director Daniel Espinosa uses some previous experience in thrillers/action flicks to good use here. Some of the shots and sequences here are really slick looking, especially the final showdown.

It’s not all action and fighting though. There are some moments that might be frightening for some, and satisfying for vampire genre fans.

The Horror, The Performances, And The Elephant In The Room

Morbius takes a lot from the horror genre and does what Marvel does best, they splice together superheroes and previous movies or genres. Here, we get Sony’s style of superhero film with lots of action, effects, and a smaller scale than the Disney Marvel movies, mixed with a tale about “be careful what you wish for”. Michael Morbius creates a monster of himself and another person by trying to solve his own health issues. It’s a refreshing thing to see after so many other “horror superhero” films haven’t really cut it with trying to scare. There’s one scene, in particular, that feels right in place with a true horror film.

Jared Leto is either someone you can enjoy their acting style or you can’t. In Morbius, he tones that style down a bit, but some of his charisma and mannerisms still shine through. When Leto is letting it ride and quipping medical terms while breaking every bone in a guy’s hand, he’s at his best. At other points, the script fails everyone and it suffers a bit. It’s safe to say though, that Leto is pretty perfect as Michael Morbius in this film.

Matt Smith Steals The Whole Movie

Hands down, the best performance in Morbius is Matt Smith as Milo. Smith looks like he’s having a ball while playing the character. He gets some of the best lines and it really makes me wish that Smith had his own franchise (outside of Doctor Who) to sink his teeth into. He’s an untapped leading man and this performance shows how much fun someone can have with material that might not be the best. Whether it’s dancing around putting on a suit, or the devilish delivery of some of his lines near the middle/end of the movie, Smith left a huge impression.

Al Madrigal has a couple of great lines and deliveries in the small amount of screen-time he has. However, he and Tyrese Gibson’s characters are pretty wasted and on the sidelines for a lot of the film.

The Script And Pacing Drag Morbius Down

If there’s one thing to single out in Morbius, it’s just that some parts of the story are either too drawn out, or don’t make complete sense. Others are just lazily written, and they’re smoothed over by the actor’s performances. Some of the more emotional moments in the latter half of the film are subdued a bit either by a cheesy line, or just not being able to hear the line. In other spots, the logic or explanation doesn’t really make sense. The only thing, in particular, that’s sort of addressed in the film is how Morbius isn’t questioned by anyone at his hospital when he shows up to work, and can just walk perfectly fine.

He goes from requiring crutches to being buff and walking in a day. No-one stopped to notice, none of his patients, who he’s been working with, nobody. In the grand scheme of the movie, it’s not a glaring hole, but it just lacks the basic logic of a film like this. There are some gargantuan questions regarding world-building and, let’s just call them, outside circumstances of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, but without going into spoilers, those shouldn’t really factor into your enjoyment of the movie. Post-credits scenes aren’t the be-all-end-all.

Other Storyline Issues

The film takes a little too long to get into motion. There’s a lot of explanation of Michael’s condition, Milo’s relationship with him, and other facets of Morbius’s life that are designed to make the audience feel for him; whether that’s his habit of making paper animals or his devotion to his patients. Once it does though, it’s pretty thrilling.

Finally, the ending comes pretty quickly, and there’s no real resolution to the events of the movie, it just ends. It’s a bit jarring, and it would have been nice to see where Morbius goes after the whole ordeal he’s been through. Does he go into hiding? Does he keep practicing? We don’t get those answers.

Morbius Is Not The Pile That People Want You To Think It Is

For a movie that’s been delayed, had reshoots, had to change plans because of Spider-Man: No Way Home (in more ways than one), and gotten a bad rap even before it came out, Morbius is good. It’s not a transcendent superhero film, but it takes the character of Morbius and introduces him to audiences. The performances take material that, at times, is subpar, and makes it useable. When it’s firing and the actors are engaged, Morbius is great. It’s the pacing and the writing that let the film down where it counts.

However, those shortcomings don’t mean that Morbius isn’t an enjoyable film. It’s a very much enjoyable if somewhat disconnected from its grand scheme universe, movie. The chains of “interconnected universe” don’t bog this one down as much as the trailers might suggest. It’s that freedom to just tell a vampire story that makes Morbius an enjoyable watch. It’s not anything particularly groundbreaking, but if you’re in the mood for a vampire superhero flick, Morbius is worth your time.

Morbius is in theaters this Friday, April 1st.

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